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Past Issues

Volume 6, Number 4 - 4th Quarter 2005

LOGBOOK is a quarterly magazine covering the entire spectrum of aviation history, from the first flight to just yesterday. Civil, Military, Airline, General Aviation - We bring you the stories that have rarely or never been published before, told by the people who lived them. If the story is known, we dig to find additional information, documents and photographs to add to the knowledge about the topic. Short stories, sea stories, personal remembrances, in-depth information and simple hangar flying are the kind of unique aviation history you will find in the pages of LOGBOOK.

Back Issue: Available

Still at Work

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been using a McDonnell Douglas DC-8-72 jet aircraft as a flying science laboratory since the mid-1980s. The platform aircraft, for years based at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California, collects data for many experiments in support of scientific projects serving the world scientific community. Included in this community are NASA, federal, state, academic and foreign investigators. Data gathered by the DC-8 at flight altitude and by remote sensing has been used for scientific studies in archaeology, ecology, geography, hydrology, meteorology, oceanography, volcanology, atmospheric chemistry, soil science and biology.
The DC-8-72: The NASA DC-8-72 is a four-engine jet transport aircraft that has been highly modified to support the Agency’s Airborne Science mission. The aircraft was originally delivered, in April 1969, to the Italian airline Alitalia as a Douglas DC-8-62H. In January 1971, the aircraft was purchased by Braniff Airways, who operated it for just over four years. After that it was owned by a number of leasing firms until NASA finally bought it in February 1986. Two months later it was upgraded to –72 standards with the installation of four CFM56-2C high bypass turbofan engines. Stephan Force chronicles this hard working airliner.

Sundowner of the Skies

Seventy-five years ago an unknown novice aviator by the name of Oscar Garden landed his second-hand de Havilland Gypsy Moth on a dusty airstrip in the far north of Western Australia to become the fourth person to fly solo from England to Australia. It was 4 November 1930, and at 27 years old, he was the youngest and by far the most inexperienced.
The following telegram was sent to England: “Arrival of Mr. Oscar Garden after his solo flight from England was quite unheralded. It was not even known he was here until a motorcar went to the aerodrome on other business and found him overhauling his Gypsy Moth. He is proceeding to Sydney. The Sun newspaper commenting on his casual arrival at Wyndham says: ‘As Wing Commander Kingsford Smith has dubbed himself Vagabond of the Air then Mr. Garden should be known as Sundowner of the Skies’.” (Sundowner describes a wandering Australian swagman who arrives out of nowhere on sundown).
Some years later in 1935 the Isle of Man Weekly Times said: “Mr. Garden’s flight ranks with those of Kingsford Smith and Bert Hinkler.” The aviation magazine Wings in 1971 called it: “an intrepid piece of airmanship ranking with the achievements of such names as Kingsford Smith, Bert Hinkler, Amy Johnson, C.W.A. Scott and others who were making aviation history and blazing trails.”
Yet, who has heard of this man and this feat? Mary Garden - Oscar Garden's daughter - tells the story


Known familiarly as “The World’s Southernmost Airline,” VX-6 was later re-designated Antarctic Development Squadron SIX (VXE-6). From 1955 to 1999, this squadron flew in support of the U.S. Antarctic Program’s annual Operation DEEP FREEZE. Although they flew literally dozens of rescue missions worthy of a good adventure yarn, most of their activities were the stuff of operations reports and flight logs, and would be considered normal military duty if not for the extraordinary conditions they were performed in. Their core missions included the transportation of equipment and personnel, the delivery of necessary supplies, and a few charitable mail drops, including a mid-winter drop to the South Pole in 1967. Additionally, in the early years, aerial mapping was another mission; quite necessary considering that most of the continent was still uncharted when the unit arrived.
Author Steve Hallex relates VXE-6s history.